The Color of Sex


Pantone is the “color authority.” Each year the color institute forecasts the shade that will dominant fashion, home décor and other areas of design.

In 2016, for the first time, there are 2 colors, not a single color. The Pantone colors for 2016 were more than a design choice (although I cannot help but covet a Smeg in either tint). They are a reflection of social change, a political statement. Either Rose Quartz (13-1520) or Serenity Blue (15-3919) would have, at one time, been chosen by Pantone separately and would have shown a feminine or a masculine trend in design. But, by choosing the 2 colors and showing them as they flow seamlessly into each other, from cool tranquil blue to warm rose, Pantone is reflecting gender. Just as the feminine pink hue morphs gradually into the masculine serene blue, there is a fluid continuum of gender. The new politics of sex has resulted in a world less anxious and constrained about sexual identity. We have pink, blue and all shades of purple.

  • The new civil rights issue in the L.G.B.T. community is the fight for all-gender restrooms. Art museums, universities, schools and trendy restaurants and even the White House are changing the traditional men’s/women’s restrooms. Cities such as Seattle, Santa Fe, Austin, Berkeley and Philadelphia have mandated single-user all-gender bathrooms. (There have been ordinances in some localities that oppose change. Texas, you know I am thinking of you.) Although many transgender people have been forced to plan their activities around the availability of a restroom, a new attitude is developing such as that at Barnard College, which proclaimed in a flier, “We want everyone to be able to pee in peace.” Bathroom signage is getting more detailed. Some signs boast a male stick figure as well as a female stick figure and a wheelchair. Some signs read “All Gender,” “Anyone of any gender expression can use whichever bathroom with which they are most comfortable.”, “Men, Women, and the rest of us,” “Privacy lock available. Equipped with urinals.”
  • The New York Times may have adopted a new courtesy pronoun (such as Mr., Mrs., etc.) for transgender people-Mx.
  • The language of the gender movement is awkward because many of our attitudes are not fully realized. The language of the Cheyenne Indians has no separation like “he” or “she.” All are simply people. In the language of the Algonquin Indians (Ojibwe) there, likewise, is no contrast between genders, only a distinction between animate and inanimate. Our language and perception have been guided by the differences, not the similarities in all of us. Men and women, and all in-betweens still have more in common than they have differences. We are all people.  The current emphasis on differences allows for maintaining power and a hierarchy. Perhaps there may be a day when the signs of gender differences are as much a historical oddity as those old bathroom and fountain signs: “White” and “Colored”.

Written by Margaret Pendleton & published with permission.

Featured Imaged by Sex on the Brain by Ark-san



3 thoughts on “The Color of Sex”

    1. Kirt Morris – I am a traveller, wanna be foodie, soccer fanatic and budding blogger with 18 years of experience in the information technology and marketing technology space. Originally from Trinidad & Tobago, now sheltering in place in Maryland, USA.

      Thanks for reading.

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